High Temperature: 75F Low Temperature: 53F Sunrise: 6:18 am Sunset: 8:26 pm Humidity: 51% Wind: ne 7 mph Chance of Rain: 10%
We take a very casual approach to the care and maintenance of our pastures. No herbicides, no cutting down the grasses and bundling them into bales. The cows provide the mowing and the fertilization. Occasionally, if there is a bare and barren patch, my husband will relocate Bermuda grass roots or sow ryegrass in late winter/early spring as a cover crop. It's not only beautiful to behold - the waving, lush and bright green grass brightens the bleakest early Spring days - it's good for the soil. According to Ryegrass Cover Crop, planting ryegrass improves pastures by helping to retain nitrogen, recycling essential nutrients, mitigating erosion, and suppressing weeds (among other beneficial properties).
In addition to ryegrass, we have several superstar volunteer cover crops. Sweet pea, white clover, low hop clover, arrowleaf clover, and hairy vetch, are all outdoing themselves this year. I think there may be a competition going on amongst them! My favorite, hairy vetch [Vicia villosa], offers the same benefits of ryegrass. It's an excellent nitrogen fixer, helps stop erosion, can be used as forage, and its mulch can increase certain crops' resistance to disease. The butterflies and bees - especially bumble bees - find it irresistible. I feel the same way about its abundance of ladder-like, pink-purple flowers and delicate leaves that climb and spread through the pasture.